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Traveling out of the Country with Minor Children

Most divorced parents maintain joint legal custody of their children. That means they share the right to make decisions that affect their children. This includes the right to obtain a passport and travel outside of the country. The United States Government requires that both parents give permission before a child under the age of 16 can obtain a passport. This is a safeguard that has been established to prevent abduction of children by one parent.

The two-signature law, however, can also be thrown up as an obstacle if one parent is resistant to allowing the other parent to travel with the children they share. If your ex is attempting to thwart your travel plans, try these strategies to help plans go more smoothly:

Plan in advance – arrange and share travel plans with your ex well in advance of the departure date, so if there are objections you have time to work through them. If you anticipate resistance from your ex, consult with your divorce attorney about your options.

Provide an itinerary – alleviate your ex’s fears that you might abscond with your child by providing a detailed itinerary, including contact information in each location, exact dates of departure and return, and for an extended trip, arrange specific time/date for phone calls or Skype dates.

Obtain a Letter of permission – obtain a letter of permission to travel from your ex. Have it notarized and keep it with your passports.

If your ex tries to thwart your attempt to obtain a passport for your child or refuses to give consent for an international vacation, you do have legal recourse. Speak with your attorney about the possible need to submit a motion to clarify your agreement, modify your agreement or compel your ex to allow your child to travel with you.

Travel can be a rewarding experience for children. If your ex is reluctant to grant permission for your child to travel out of the country, speak to a child custody attorney. Call the Buffalo Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis and Associates at 716.886.9600 or contact us online.

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